Gabriel Torwua Suswam

Gabriel Torwua Suswam, Lawyer, Administrator, the fourth elected governor of Benue State, was born on 15th November, 1964 in Anyiin, Logo Local Government Area of Benue State, North-Central Nigeria.

At the age of five, the young Gabriel Torwua Suswam enrolled at NKST Primary School, Zaki – Biam, Benue State where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1977. On completion of Primary school, he proceeded to the St. Andrew’s Secondary School, Adikpo, where he started his secondary school education. After one year of studies, he transferred to the famous Government College, Makurdi where he continued his studies graduating in 1982.

In his quest for higher education, Suswam proceeded to the School of Basic Studies, Makurdi between 1982 and 1984 where he passed the Interim Joint Matriculation Examination (IJMB), a requisite qualification for university education. In 1986 therefore, Hon. Suswam was admitted into the Law Faculty of the University of Lagos. Between 1986 and 1989 he read and obtained the LL.B (Hons) degree, and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos where he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1991 on successful completion of the programme.  After his call to bar, Suswam participated in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme at Trendex Finance Firm in Lagos, from 1990 to 1991.

Between 1991 and 1994, Hon. Suswam began a career in private legal practice as Junior Counsel in the Corporate legal firm of Tokode & Company based in Lagos.  A fast learner that he is, Suswam quickly learnt the ropes in the ever challenging world of private legal practice.  In 1994 he formed his Law firm, Tingir & Associates, based in Lagos.  Within three years Tingir & Associates metamorphosed into a  successful  law firm offering a wide range of legal services.   In order to cope  with the rising number of high profile clientele, he relocated to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory where he partnered with a colleague, Harris Ogbole to float the firm of  Suswam Ogbole & Co.

He resigned from private legal practice to seek election into the House of Representatives to represent K/Ala/Ukum/Logo Federal Constituency, which seat he won in 1999 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

While in the House of Representatives, Hon. Suswam headed a number of strategic committees. He was appointed Chairman, House Services Committee from 1999- 2001 and between 2001 and 2003, he served as Chairman, House Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

On account of his outstanding performance, Hon Suswam was re-elected into the House of Representatives in 2003.Upon his return to the House of Representatives, Hon. Suswam was  appointed Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on members’ welfare; Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations and later moved as Chairman, House Committee on Power.  

The burning desire to serve to the people of Benue State compelled Hon Suswam to join the crowded gubernatorial race in Benue State where he fought for the party’s ticket alongside more experienced politicians to emerge the flag bearer.  He was elected subsequently Governor of Benue State   and sworn in on May 29th 2007.

Rt. Hon. Suswam’s thirst for more knowledge since graduating at the University of Lagos has motivated him to pursue a number of academic and professional programmes since acquiring his first degree. He holds the Master of Public Administration from the University of Abuja; Master of Law (LLM) from the University of Jos. He crowned it all with the successful completion of a PhD in law at the same University, which was awarded to him in March, 2011. In addition, he holds  a certificate in Management from the University of Lagos;  another certificate in Public Finance from the Duke University in America and is an alumnus of the Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts  in America where he participated in the Executive Course on ‘ Infrastructure in a   Market Economy’ of the Kennedy School of Government in 2008

Since assumption of office as Governor of Benue state in 2007, Dr Suswam   has worked tirelessly to transform the state through his commitment to the provision of critical infrastructure as well as other social facilities to lift the economic well being of the people. The footprints of Dr Gabriel Torwua Suswam are visible in the sheer quantity and high quality infrastructural projects he has successfully executed which are either in use or awaiting official commissioning. Some of these projects include  about 1000km  roads  spread across the three Senatorial Districts in the State; the greater Makurdi water Project which has capacity of 100,000 cubic metres of water per day; the Katsina –Ala and Otobi (Otukpo) water projects; construction  of urban roads and streets in Makurdi, Gboko, Otukpo and Katsina-Ala; provision of electricity to about 100 communities across the State, massive provision of classrooms for both primary and secondary schools; building of new hospitals  and rehabilitation of existing  General Hospitals across the State. The list of his achievements can certainly not be exhausted here.

Rt. Hon Gabriel Torwua Suswam has had to discharge several national assignments in addition to his official duties as the Chief Executive of Benue State. He is the Vice – Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, which comprises 19 Governors of the States in the Northern Nigeria; He is a member of the Presidential Committee on Nigeria Integrated Power Project (NIPP) which committee is charged with responsibility to improve electricity generation capacity in the country. He is  a member of National Elders Committee of the ruling- PDP, a Standing Committee which has the mandate to resolve crisis in some of the State Chapters of the party. He was   Chairman of the Ward Congress Committee for the Anambra PDP governorship election 2009.

Governor Suswam’s effective implementation of his widely acclaimed development blue print- “Our Benue, Our Future” has earned him several awards in and outside Nigeria. His development blueprint has a clear programme of action in the various sectors of the State’s economy with well defined targets and strategies for policy implementation. He has demonstrated that with discipline, and effective application of resources, so much can be done by a state administration with the little resources at its disposal to improve the lives of the people.

It is therefore not surprising that Rt. Hon. Suswam is a recipient of so many awards and honours. In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded Thisday Best Governor of the Year in Infrastructure and Fiscal Management 2009; Sardauna Award as Best Governor of the Year  2008 on Infrastructure. He won the Sardauna Best Governor of the Year again in 2009 on Rural Development. He also received the Socrates International Award for Good Leadership by the Euro Assembly, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2009.

Other awards and honours conferred on the him include University of Lagos Alumni Award for Excellence 2009; Merit Award of the Nigeria Foundation, Houston, Texas, USA 2009; President’s Merit, Nigeria Society of Engineers(NSE),Grand Patron of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) 2009; Patron of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations(NIPR) 2010; Grand Patron of the Boys Brigade of Nigeria 2007; and Fellow of the Chattered Institute of Arbitrators of Nigeria 2008; The Leadership Merit Award by the NUJ Benue State Council , 2007 and the NUJ Kaduna  State Council Excellence Award 2009  and NUJ Abuja Council Excellence Awards in Leadership 2011 among other numerous awards.

As a consummate intellectual, Dr Suswam has been a favourite guest lecturer in many academic fora.  He was the Annual Guest Lecturer of the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos, 2008; Guest Lecturer of the Faculty of Law, Annual Lecture Series, University of Jos, 2010 and Guest lecturer of University of Agriculture, Makurdi, March, 2011.

Rt. Hon Suswam has visited several countries including the United Kingdom of Britain, United States of America, France, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, South Africa, Morocco, Israel, China, the Fiji Islands, Netherlands, Switzerland, Egypt, Ghana, Senegal, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago among others.

This is Rt. Hon Suswam, a true patriot, administrator, intellectual, scholar, a legislator per excellence, transformational leader, philanthropist; Rt. Hon. Suswam is a devout Christian and an exemplary family man. A father of two boys, Rt. Hon Dr. Gabriel Suswam is married to his amiable wife, Arc Deaconess Yemisi Dooshima Suswam.